By Andrew Nsoseka
The streets of Southwest’s regional capital, Buea, were on Sunday October 7, void of human movement as the remaining population mostly stayed indoors in the tense town that was highly militarised.
In most polling centres that were created when some polling stations were dissolved to solve the problem of insecurity, little human activity could be seen, as mostly the polling agents, security men and a few officials and voters could be seen at the centres.
The exercise that was supposed to begin at 6am only began in most places after 9am when the military convoy in charge of delivering the election material pulled over some centres in town, after driving around and seeing other polling centres deserted and no sign of human activity areas like Mile16, Muea and other part of towns that have been greatly affected by the on-going crisis.
At the OIC polling centre, the military convoy pulled on at 9:13 to meet the observers and a few elderly men who had come out to vote at 7am. One of the voters erupted in anger saying “ELECAM has failed, I have been seated here for hours, the exercise is supposed to have started three hours ago, and it is just now that they are arriving. I am not happy.” He said.
At the polling centre at the Southwest magistrate court, most of those who voted were top government officials and state servants, most of who came guarded by at least two or three guards. At about midday, Governor Okalia accompanied by wife, escorted by trucks of heavily armed soldiers arrived the polling centre to cast their own vote.
After voting, Governor Okalia made a press statement, calling on people to, like him, come out and participate in the election exercise. “We have heard that in some areas, some terrorists tried to intimidate the population but the defence forces reacted promptly and everything is going on.” He did not give details on the said disturbance by those he termed terrorists.
Okalia went on to thank the press for sticking around even in tough times.
Buea DO Ambushed, Wounded
In other developments, the Sub Divisional Officer of Buea, Paul Koam Woukam, together with his convoy driving around town, were ambushed in Muea. The DO reportedly suffered a wound in the hand, and a scratch in the head. He is said to have received medical attention at the regional hospital in Buea, after which he continued with his duty.
Generally in Buea and most of the Southwest, the Presidential election was highly boycotted, people stayed indoors while gunmen roamed around in as part of their efforts to deter some people from going to polling centres to take part in the election exercise.